It would sure be nice if I could tell you there is one cut and dry best answer to the question, “How should I sell my RV?” but, like most things in life, there isn’t.
Your situation is unique and what’s best for you isn’t always what’s best for someone else. In the 3+ decades Bish’s has sold RVs, we’ve seen RVers sell their own RVs, consign them through dealers, or trade them in. Sometimes these RVers are happy with their choice, sometimes they’re not.
We know it can be hard to get the unbiased information you need to confidently make the best decision for you. Here we’ll provide what you need to know to decide whether you should sell your RV yourself, consign, or trade it in. We want you to have this information so you can walk away from the sale of your RV happy with your choice and confident you made the right one.
What’s the Difference Between Selling, Consigning, and Trading-in My RV?
Sell Your RV Yourself
This is just like it sounds, you sell the RV yourself. You can do it your way. You may go old school and park your RV in an abandoned lot off a busy highway with a for sale sign and your phone number. You may embrace the digital age and list the RV on Facebook Marketplace, RV Trader, Craigslist, etc.
However you do it, you’re in charge of the sale and everything that goes along with it. All the effort, but also all the profits.
Consign Your RV
When you consign your RV, you agree with an RV dealership to have them sell the RV for you. You and the dealership agree on a price, the dealer does the legwork to sell the RV and lets you know when you have a buyer. You get the amount you agreed to and the dealer keeps whatever they sell above that.
If you’re interested, you can learn more about RV consignment.
Trade your RV
If you’re already an RVer but ready for a new RV – whether you’ve outgrown your old one, want an upgrade, or need a different class – the dealership will likely consider your current RV for a trade. The dealer will use the value of your old RV to bring down the price of your new camper.
Pros of Selling Your RV Yourself
You Sell it – You Keep 100% of What You Make.
Selling your RV yourself is the way to go if you’re looking to get the absolute most, straight cash value, out of your RV.
Pros of Consigning Your RV
Saves You Time
The Dealership will prep, list, field calls, and manage any price haggling for your RV.
More Eyes on Your RV
From foot traffic, to professional photos on online listings, to customers visiting dealer lots. More eyes may mean a faster turn around and better return.
Larger Market Area
Facebook will limit you to a 100 miles radius. A dealership advertises anywhere they have locations. Bish’s, for example, has a nationwide presence and can ship your RV to a buyer that’s anywhere in the lower 48 states.
Gives the Buyer Confidence
A buyer may pay more knowing the RV has been inspected and evaluated by professionals.
The dealer can handle the financing for the person buying your RV.
Learn more about the benefits of consigning your RV.
Pros of Trading in Your RV
No hassle, and no need to think about any of the selling process.
Your RV is gone immediately. You don’t have to spend one minute waiting for a buyer.
No Insurance Required
No need to carry insurance for an RV you aren’t actively using.
Saves Money on Your Next RV
- Your trade-in applies toward the cost of your next RV.
- In some states it can lower the sales tax for your next RV, as the trade value applies to the final total of the new camper.
- May incentivize dealers, hungry for used inventory, to give you a better deal on the new RV. You may take less for the trade than you would selling it, but you also might pay less for your new RV, which could mean more money left in your bank account overall.
Cons of Selling Your RV Yourself
Time, Time, Time
- You’ll have to spend time prepping, taking pictures, listing the RV, fielding calls, scheduling walkthroughs, meeting strangers in sketchy parking lots at dusk, and having endless conversations haggling over price.
- It also may take longer to find the right buyer willing to pay what you’re looking to make.
Less visibility for your camper as it’s not listed as widely.
Less Buyer Confidence
Potential buyers may have less assurance without a dealer’s backing. This may make some people less willing to buy.
May Not Get the Best Price
You may get less for the RV because you don’t have accurate valuation tools and a dealership would have a better idea of its actual value.
Without the dealer to arrange financing you may be left waiting for the buyer to secure the cash and hoping they don’t flake out.
Cons of Consigning Your RV
Less Financial Benefit
- You may make less take home pay than selling it yourself
- If you’re buying another RV the consigned value won’t apply toward the total cost or reduce your sales tax on that new RV.
You’ll need to continue paying for insurance to protect your RV while it’s on the dealer’s lot.
Consigning is a Commitment.
Most dealers will have you sign a consignment agreement for a certain time period.
At Bish’s we’ll sign for 90 days. If you change your mind about consigning and decide to pick up your RV before the 90 days ends we charge $500 to cover our prep and listing costs.
Cons of Trading in Your RV
Less Value for Your RV
The dealership will evaluate your RV and decide how much work they need to do to sell it to another RVer. They’ll give you a fair amount based on their expenses. You may, however, take a lower value for the RV than you would selling it yourself.
Learn more about how dealers decide what your RV is worth.
Should I Sell My RV Myself?
It may look like the list of pros for selling your own RV is short and the list of cons is long. But how many things are on each list matters less than how important each factor is to you.
Weigh each of the pros and cons to make your best decision.
Getting as much as possible for your RV may be the most important factor for you. This is especially true if you need to sell your RV for financial reasons – say you lost a job, or have unexpected medical expenses.
But, if you have the time, energy, patience, and resources to sell your RV, you may even enjoy the process of finding the right buyer and getting maximum return for your RV. Maybe you’ll even make a buddy when you meet up in that Walmart parking lot for a walkthrough.
If you would rather save time than make extra, selling your RV yourself, may not be the best path for you.
If you’re on the fence about selling the RV yourself, you can always try it out, and if it doesn’t work out, or it’s not for you, you can try one of the other two options.
Should I Consign My RV?
Sometimes time really is money. You may consign your RV if you don’t have the time and resources to prep, list, field calls, haggle, etc, and potentially making a little less is worth the many hours you’ll get back in your life.
Consigning is an especially good option if you aren’t looking to purchase another RV. Maybe you want a break from RV life or didn’t enjoy RVing – whatever your reason – consigning is a great way to just get out of RVing completely.
Should I Trade in My RV?
If you’re not looking for another RV then trading is not for you.
But trading may be for you if you are buying a replacement RV and don’t even want to think about waiting for your current RV to sell.
When you trade you get the benefit of spending nothing to prep, maintain, or insure the RV while it sells. The RV is immediately out of your hands and into the dealer’s.
You may even net more profit when you finish purchasing your next RV, between sales tax reductions and a possible lower price on your new RV, even though it may seem like you’ll make less initially.
Here’s how it works:
The lower the price of your RV, the less you’re going to pay in sales tax. (Though some states won’t consider the trade adjusted price when they charge you sales tax.)
Your trade’s value may also give the dealership more wiggle room on the price of your next RV. The dealer may decide that they can sell you your new RV for less margin because they can make up the difference when they sell your used RV.
This, of course, is not always the case. Discounts on your new RV will depend on a lot of factors, like the condition of your trade, the potential of your trade to sell, the RV you’re buying, etc.
If you bought your last RV from Bish’s RV then you’re a member of Bish’s Diamond Club. This membership includes a voucher that will get you more for your trade at a Bish’s location. The voucher is worth $500 – $2,000 more on your trade, depending on your RV.
Discuss your trade’s value and ask the dealer questions to see if your current RV could bring down the price of your next one.
Next Steps to Deciding Whether You Should Sell, Consign, or Trade Your RV:
Now that you understand the pros and cons of the different ways to sell your RV, you can feel confident that you have the information you need to make sell your RV the best way.
There isn’t one answer for everyone when it comes to selling an RV, so we want you to do what’s best for you. If you’ve learned that selling your RV yourself is the best direction for you, that’s fantastic! If you’ve decided trading or consigning works better for you, we’d love to help.
Bish’s RV accepts consignment and trade-in RVs every day. We’d love to answer any questions you still have or help you sell your RV!
Bish’s RV Content Writer & Editor
Thinks nature is great. Thinks it’s greater with a comfortable bed and working bathroom.